TEEN MOVIES HISTORY SHOWS HOW FILMMAKERS ARE USUALLY HAPPY TO POPULATE THEIR FICTIONAL HIGH SCHOOL WITH STEREOTYPES,EMPHASIZING SINGLE CHARACTER TRAITS TO THE EXCESS, WHICH IN THE REAL WORLD WOULD HAVE THE TEENA BEHIND BARS EVEN BEFORE THE MORNING BELL. HERE ARE SOME OF THE RECURRING CLICHÉ FROM THE BIG SCREEN:
THE NERD (ex. Max Fisher in “Rushmore” played by Jason Schwartzman)
A character who is somehow likable despite being presented as a loser of such epicness you may wonder if they were created in a lab as part of a social experiment about depression. Max is obsessed with joining and starting school clubs and also has big trouble in love. But that’s just part of the reason we like nerds – they’re also harmless, intelligent, solid and helpful friend.
THE OUTCAST (ex. Enid and Rebecca in “Ghost World” played by Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson)
Stamping on their high school graduation outfits in Dr. Martens – when they weren’t cool – Enid and Rebecca are outcast from the outset. With their blank stares and totally “over it” attitudes, they’re truly identifiable to any student that never quite fits in. They teach us a lesson: high school is never easy, but if you find a good pal to stick by your side throughout, then you’ll at least make it to graduation.
THE SWEET SUPERFICIAL GIRL (ex. Karen Smith in “Mean Girls” played by Amanda Seyfried)
Hidden in the sidelines of Mean Girls there’s a student, attractive and popular, with bad grades but a happy heart. Every high school has a Karen – The pretty, shallow girl who stands out for her positive outlook on life (and her passion for meteorology), is a ray of sunshine in a clique whose intentions are inherently evil. Se’s just too clueless to realize it.
THE STONER (ex. Ron Slater in “Dazed and Confused” played by Rory Cochrane)
Slater is the school stoner and the only character that remains high during every part of the film.
The cliche of this characters is that he firmly believes that any problem can be fixed by smoking marijuana and that any activity is more enjoyable while stoned.
THE SPOILED PRINCESS (ex. Claire Standish in “Breakfast Club” played by Molly Ringwald)
We shouldn’t have to tell you what makes The Breakfast Club an all-time classic. Claire is the popular high school princess that seems to always get what she wants. When she’s forced to spend her Saturday in detention with other students we see that she has the same fears and confusions as everybody else. Ringwald gives a richly layered performance, turning what could easily be a one-dimensional character into someone we pity, empathize with and root for.
THE JOCK (ex. Biff Tannen in “Back to the Future” played by Thomas F. Wilson)
A bully in two time periods, Wilson’s character gets to torment not one, but two generations of the family McFly. He’s a shining light of trashy bullies everywhere – a podgy, rude, arrogant and violent boy who gets what he wants by intimidating others, mostly by overusing the word “butthead”.
THE HORNY VIRGIN (ex. Ted aka “Farmer Ted” in “Sixteen Candles” played by Anthony Michael Hall)
No self-respecting teen movie is without a bad-at-sports, badly dressed, awkward-with-girls young virgin at its center. In Sixteen Candles a subplot involves a geeky freshman, Ted, who tries to win a bet with his friends by continually (and unsuccessfully) trying to bed his love interest, Sam. In the end Ted reveals the wager to the girl, who agrees to loan him her panties to help him win.